The LQ-84 resembles a small sphere painted in a disruptive camouflage pattern. If examined very closely, a circular seam at the top of the drone can be found. This is where the sensor mast extends from. Similar seams are present where optics are protected from the elements by covers, as well as where the manipulators extend and retract from.
Role & Design Edit
As part of SpaceLand Battle's doctrine requires the capability to look deep into the enemy's rear areas, the LQ-84 is designed to provide just such a capability. Specifically, it is intended to infiltrate deep behind enemy lines and gather as much information as it can. This information is not just physical - which unit is where, what weapons they are carrying, where they intend to go - but also electronic. Examples include gathering data on a new sensor, the enemy's electronic order of battle, learning more about their communications systems, and so on. The LQ-84's secondary role is as a forward observer. Because it is observing the enemy, it can in turn direct fire support against the enemy whilst they are still far from the front lines.
The LQ-84 is entirely unarmed. This was intentional so as to allow the LQ-84 to carry as much mission relevant equipment as possible. The only equipment it carries which can even vaguely be considered a weapon are its manipulators, thin whip-like "tentacles" that can be used to grasp items. However, although these could theoretically be used to, say, strangle an opponent, it would be extremely dangerous for the drone. This is leaving aside the fact that this would also endanger the drone's mission (i.e. getting data back to friendly territory).
The drone's real "weapons" are its sensors. It is festooned with a number of optics intended for different roles (for example, ones for detail and others for distant objects) as well as passive sensors similarly optimised for different roles. Examples of the latter would be sensor warning receivers and systems devoted to analysing incoming signals. If need be, it may extend a sensor mast to see over intervening obstacles (for example, a wall or bush) without exposing itself. It also contains meteorological sensors to allow planners to adjust CBRN fire plans depending on the prevailing weather. A further addition to assist in CBRN planning are sensors designed to detect and analyse CBRN agents. This would be useful for determining how best to navigate a contaminated area.
Once the drone has gathered enough data, it may attempt to either transmit the data via encrypted, Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) transmission or store the data and attempt to physically make its way back. The drone also possesses enough processing power to make basic analyses about the data it collects. Although the result is simple, the ideal is to reduce the workload of intelligence analysts.
The LQ-84 is also equipped to assist friendly artillery, starships, and aerospacecraft in attacking the enemy. To this end it is equipped with a laser designator and a LPI radar. If the fire support assets miss, the drone can automatically issue corrections. Regardless of success, the drone provides a battle damage assessment.
The LQ-84's defences are ultimately very limited. Although it is armoured well enough to protect against shrapnel and pistol fire, it cannot withstand small arms fire. This is unsurprising, as the drone was never intended to get involved in a shootout. If detected and destruction seems imminent, the drone attempts to transmit as much data as possible to friendly forces whilst wiping its databanks. However, it always prefers to flee and return to friendly lines or shadow a different formation to the one that detected it.
The LQ-84 is painted in camouflage patterns consisting of a special low observability paint. Although this cannot prevent detection, it does mean the drone can get closer before it risks being spotted. Its drives are also specially designed to be quiet in operation and difficult to pick up on scanners.
The drone has two methods of locomotion: anti-gravity drive and rolling along the ground. In normal operation the drone will utilise its anti-gravity drive, but if this suffers a failure or the situation demands it, the drone will roll along the ground. It may also "hop" over obstacles by temporarily triggering auxiliary drives. The anti-gravity drive is much faster than simply rolling for obvious reasons.
The drone has a small "mission compartment" which it can use to accomplish a variety of espionage related tasks. A very basic example would be splicing a surveillance device into an enemy force's lines of communications. The drone has manipulators in order to allow it to grasp and manipulate items put into its mission compartment.